Thursday, February 9, 2012

Pattie's Story

If you read this blog very often you know that I have done a lot of research on the Barner family of Smithland, Kentucky, especially Martha "Miss Pattie" Barner. I was thrilled to make contact with a Barner descendant/researcher recently and ecstatic when he offered to share family photos and documents. The first article containing this new information was on 12 January 2012, when I told you about Sarah Jane's Story. Today I want to share Pattie's Story.

Believed to be Pattie Barner

Born on the 2nd of August 1848 in Smithland, Miss Pattie was the daughter of Sterling Mays Barner and Sarah Jane West. The Barners moved from Nashville, Tennessee to Smithland about 1841, after Sterling's retirement as a steamboat captain. The family moved into the home of Benjamin Barner, Sterling's older brother. As the youngest child in the family, Pattie enjoyed a close relationship with her mother, especially after the deaths of her father, older brother and sister, and uncle, all within about three years. By the time she was age 17, the only living members of the Barner family were Miss Pattie and her mother, Sarah Jane.

Miss Pattie lived in a comfortable home on Charlotte Street in Smithland. Because the Barners were well off financially, Pattie experienced luxuries not afforded by the average young lady in Smithland. She could wear the latest styles of clothing and was even sent to Nashville for her education. She wore jewelry set with garnets and rings of gold. Note the golden rings in the photo above.

There was a serious side to Miss Pattie, however, as evidenced by a letter she wrote her mother on 6 February 1866 from Nashville, where she was attending school. In the letter, Pattie told of being baptized at Christ Church and told her mother "you must not think that I am doing this at the impulse of a moment for I assure you I have been thinking of it for some time past. I believe in the Episcopal doctrine, and have determined to attach myself to none other but that church." Pattie stated she was enclosing a photograph of herself for her mother. Could it be the one above?

On 26 March 1868, Miss Pattie married Benjamin Waller Taylor, a young man of Henderson, Kentucky. How they met is unknown. From an article in the Henderson Weekly Reporter of 3 December 1863, we know that B. Waller, as he was called, opened a clothing store on Main Street in Henderson. An advertisement in the newspaper states that he carried "All the new styles of Ready Made Clothing! Also a splendid stock of Gent's Furnishing Goods consisting of Shirts, Drawers, Hosier, Gloves, Scarfs, Neck-Ties, &c, &c ... All of which will be sold at the Very Lowest Prices." The business apparently existed only a short time and the ads soon disappeared from the newspaper.

If you recall, the marriage of Pattie and B. Waller did not last long. Shortly after their wedding, Pattie became pregnant and B. Waller left her, expressing his feelings in a letter, "I will have nothing more to do with you in this life - have lost all love & respect for you." B. Waller returned to Henderson and Pattie and her mother went to Nashville, where a son, Sterling Barner Taylor, was born 6 May 1869. Six days later Pattie died. She was not yet 21 years old. Her body was returned to Kentucky, where she was buried near her sister, father and uncle in the Barner plot in Smithland Cemetery.

Sarah Jane returned to Smithland with little Sterling before moving on to Russellville, Logan County, Kentucky. Apparently, there was little contact between B. Waller and his son, Sterling B. Taylor, until after Sterling's marriage in 1890. In July of that year, Sterling wrote his father to tell him he was married and living in Columbus, Ohio. B. Waller responded, calling Sterling "My Dear Boy," and enclosed a photo of himself. B. Waller expressed his happiness at hearing from Sterling and said he had written to Sterling in the past few years, but there had been no reply. There is no indication they stayed in touch after the 1890 letter.

B. Waller Taylor, ca 1890

When he wrote to Sterling, B. Waller stated he was currently employed by Dixon Mackey & Co. Wholesale Boots & Shoes, Evansville, Indiana. The 1900 Vanderburgh County, Indiana shows B. Waller living at 211 Mulberry Street, Evansville with his wife, Ruth, and children, Elizabeth, Arthur S. and Harry N. Taylor. B. Waller died 18 August 1901 in Evansville and is buried in Fernwood Cemetery, Henderson, Kentucky.

Pattie's life was short, but she left a child, who produced the only descendants of the Barner family of Smithland, Kentucky. I don't feel that Pattie's story is over yet. There is still more to be learned about this remarkable young lady and, when I find new information, I'll let you know.

Copyright on photographs and text
by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog


Jennifer Taylor Klein said...

A cane of General Andrew Jackson has been passed down our family for generations. The cane which was given to Captain Sterling Barner bears a plaque with the inscription on the cane "This cane was awarded by General Andrew Jackson to Captain Sterling Barner with the request that it be passed down generation to generation to the eldest male heir." We are direct decendants of Sterling Barner Taylor.

Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG said...

Jennifer, I would really like to talk to you. Would you email me at please?